Fly Fishing The Tomahawk State Wildlife Area
As anglers, we listen closely to stories of huge fish, adventure and glory in our home waters and spend copious amounts of time chasing these tales to their sources to find out for ourselves if they are true or fable. We also like to believe that we are the only ones who are out there adventuring and seeking these treasures but often times we discover that, as true as these tales may be, we are far from the only ones who seek to find them. Such is the case with “The Dream Stream”, which can easily transform into a weekend nightmare for most of us as we sit shoulder to shoulder with other anglers who are also looking to hook that “fish of a lifetime”.
I love catching monster fish and hunting for my personal best just as much as the next angler, but sometimes it isn’t about hooking into that 25 incher or having that hero shot for bragging rights to all my jealous friends, sometimes it’s about getting out and enjoying some serenity and alone time on the river to clear my mind and soak in the beauty around me as I fish. Enter the “Tomahawk” area of the Middle Fork South Platte River.
About fifteen miles southeast of Fairplay Colorado, tucked away just East of the Mosquito range in the Tomahawk State Wildlife Area, lies a lesser known section of the Middle Fork South Platte river that is as beautiful as it is fun to fish. Its close proximity to the dream stream makes it a great alternative to the dream when the crowds are crazy and a breath of fresh air is needed. Upon entering this hidden gem, you will find miles of winding river with countless bends, pools and shelves where hungry fish are eager to please and the crowds are seldom seen. This stretch of river meanders through beautiful hilly meadows as the Mosquito Range mountains loom to the west and is a great destination to relax and explore some gorgeous water. The trout here are typically smaller and many are well below the 12 inch mark, but there are also some bigger trout in the 12 to 20 inch range that call this river home and can be found in some of the deeper pools if you spend the time and search them out. One angler I spoke to on the trail even told me he caught a 16 inch whitefish and lost a 20 inch rainbow so definitely don’t give up on those slabs.
The Perfect Time to Fly Fish Tomahawk
On our latest excursion in early June, our small crew of Minturn Anglers guides spent less than two hours here one afternoon after fishing the dream stream and brought many fish to the net in all different areas of the river. The late summer and early fall months here will bring some great hopper dropper and large dry fly action to enjoy and nymphing will be productive year round with patterns in the #16-22 size range. Hatches here are said to be less frequent than some of the other rivers around the state, but don’t be surprised to see them coming off in the proper circumstances. Steamers, eggs and larger attractor patterns like pat’s rubber legs and the guides choice hares ear will also bring takes and success when the water is off color and running high.
Even though I have only spent a limited amount of time on this section of river, I can’t help but want to go back and fish it more. The intrigue and challenge this place provides is well worth the long drive and effort to get here. As the population in our state grows, our fisheries will only get more crowded, so why not have a couple amazing, quiet spots in your back pocket to stage your retreat when the the crowds are unbearable and solitude is the only medicine. Like I said, some days it isn’t just about the fishing, and Tomahawk is perfect for days like those. If you are interested in exploring the Middle Fork South Platte with one of our guides, we offer trips to Tomahawk and would be happy to give you a perfectly unique angling experience for your adventurous needs, visit our trip page for pricing and details.